He says that Obama ought to have declined it. And he is right. At the end of the day, there really isn’t all that much for Obama to gain from having won the prize, and much to lose from it, as Douthat writes. It would have been tremendously impressive if the President came out to the Rose Garden on Friday, and essentially asked for a raincheck on the prize; telling the Nobel Committee to give it to him when he had done more to earn it. Such a statement would have disarmed the President’s critics–myself included–without in any way, shape, or form diminishing the prestige of having won the prize. It would have been the best of both worlds.
Now, instead, Joe Trippi’s imaginary political ad may well become a reality. If the economy does not improve by 2010–and it likely will not–thirty-second spots will be made featuring something like the following line: “Barack Obama got a Nobel Prize. What did you get? A pink slip.” Never let it be said that the President could not have prevented this from happening.